At Malvern, agriculture and school go hand-in-hand

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Submitted Photo Malvern Nutritional Director Stacey Bettis (left) and Aspen Ujcich are shown with Ujcich’s steer, “Jethro”, which the school district purchased at the Carroll County Jr. Fair Livestock sale.

By Thomas Clapper
CCM Reporter
The Brown Local School District made history at the 2023 Carroll County Fair with an innovative project to teach students where their food comes from.
The district became the first school in the county to purpurchase a beef steer, “Jethro,” from Aspen Ujcich at the Carroll County Jr. Fair.
In a blind bid process, Nutritional Director Stacey Bettis worked with the Carroll County Jr. Fair Board along with the Ohio Department of Education – Office of Nutrition to procure local market beef to be served to the students this school year.
The purchase was part of the Farm to School Initiatives.
“This is to bring collaboration between the classroom and the community,” said Bettis. “This fall the students will get to see where food comes from.”
“I hope this will introduce agricultural education to students who may not be interested or do not know about local agriculture,” said Ujcich.
Bettis said the district plans to make the steer into hamburger, beef patties and use ground beef for spaghetti sauce and tacos. She is also planning classroom lessons about how the beef got from farm to the table. Lessons will begin in late October.
“Through the Leadership of Stacey Bettis, we are very excited to partner with local farmers, collaborate with community organizations and connect students with local food and nutrition,” said Brown Local Schools Superintendent Mark Scott. “The Carroll County Fair is an important event annually for many of our students and families. We are proud to support the Carroll County Jr. Fair and continue to provide high-quality and nutritious meals to our students.”
Ujcich has shown at the fair for over eight years. This year her steer “Jethro” was the first beef ever to be procured by a school district in Carroll County. Ujcich’s steer weighed in at 1,498 lbs. The district paid $2 per pound for the dairy beef steer.
Ujcich is active in FFA, a member of the Jr Fair Board, a camp counselor for 4H and participates in cheerleading.
When Aspen is not spending time with animals, she can be found working at the local feed mill. She states that one of the things she likes about the fair is the amazing people you meet.

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